Mystical Knight Dragon: Okay, I'm putting this up the minute I finished typing it. There's not much left except for the flashback. And you will buy the book to read the flashback!!!! Riiiiiiiight…….????? …Anyways, much thanks to my reviewers: Panda (Yeah, FP.Com hates me, and it won't let me do double enters. It'll look a lot better in book form, especially since it'll be edited…and I'll probably take out half the curse words… --') and Lor (Of course Indie's better than Chikara! Chikara's a complete airhead! ^_^ Yeah… Ahem. Anyways, thanks in advance for buying my book! It means so much to me! ^_^)!!!!! I suppose I'd have more reviews if I waited more than twenty-four hours to post this, but you want the chapter, right? Of course you do.
Even if it's only half the chapter. --'
Chapter 24: Of Card Games and Paperclips
Everyone except Baku looked up at the sound of Indie's boots thundering down the stairs, echoing oddly in the strained silence. Xander thanked whatever celestial being was listening that Indie was actually back, as he was the only one Baku would listen to when told to stop what he was doing or to shut up. And for the past fifteen minutes or so, Baku had been playing Solitaire (with a deck of rather risqué playing cards, much to Derek's amusement) and humming "Crazy Train" rather softly, although it seemed much louder in the otherwise silence. He was so absorbed in his game and trying to remember the next verse of the song that he didn't realize Indie was back until he smacked him upside the head and yelled at him to shut up.
Baku pouted. "I like that song…"
Indie rolled his eyes. "I like a lot of songs, too, but you don't hear me singing them."
"That's because you can't sing."
Indie smacked Baku on the head again, this time a bit harder.
"Where's Dirke?" Noi asked, looking around.
"He wants us to meet him up in Ayin's office in about another ten minutes." Indie then filled them in with all he had seen and heard while he had been up there. "I feel like somebody's messenger boy," he finished with a slight scowl.
Xander went yokai so that he could speak, Baku turning yokai along with him. "What did Ayin say about all of this?" he asked. The blood that splattered from his throat was slightly runny; he coughed, and a rather large mass of congealed blood hit the wall right above Noi's head.
"Oh shit," Indie swore. "I completely forgot Ayin was up there for a while! My mind just sort of went on a tangent, and I lost control of myself for a while…"
Baku laughed. "You sound kind of like me. Now you can't make fun of me when I use my 'it made sense in my head' line."
"Sure I can."
"Focus," Xander reminded them before the two could continue bickering. "How long did he say? Ten minutes? It's been, maybe…five, give or take?"
Indie shrugged. "I don't have a watch."
"We should probably give him more than ten minutes…lest we walk in on them trying to rip each other's throats out."
Baku looked up from his card came. "I wouldn't mind seeing that. I could go for some fresh blood right now that's not coming out of Xanny's neck."
Xander glared. "Is there something wrong with my affliction?"
"No, just like there's nothing wrong with chest hair. Damn it! Where the hell is the nine of spades?"
Indie shook his head slightly. "Oh!" he yelped, suddenly remembering something. "Baka! Guess what!"
"Your grandmother's a whore, too!"
"That I wouldn't know…but…oh, where to begin…? If only we had told you from the beginning…"
"You're a transvestite!"
"What the fuck? No!" He kicked Baku as hard as he could, the latter only rolling around on the ground laughing hysterically and thoroughly messing up his card game. "You, me, and Chikara! We're the missing links to the prophecy!"
Baku cast a look over at Chikara. "Prophecy, eh? What kind of prophecy? Destined lovers? Well, minus you, of course."
Indie's eyes narrowed and he lifted Baku up by his shirt, which was so bright that it seemed to reflect off of his face. "You even talk about my sister that way, and I'll kill you!"
Baku laughed and held up his hands defensively. "I was only joking, inu."
Indie dropped Baku rather unceremoniously onto the ground.
"Now, what prophecy are you talking about?"
Indie ran his hand through his dirty blonde hair, messing it up a little. "Well, apparently, your dad was a bit of a Seer, and he made a prophecy about you…well, we assumed it was you. Anyway, it was something to the extent of 'at the sign of the first fire, he shall be stronger than all but two.' Apparently, I'm one of those two, as are you and Chikara."
Baku blinked. "I'm confused."
"Baka, don't you get it! We're the three strongest people on this whole bloody earth! If we all go yokai at once, we can literally blow up this whole city!"
"Oh… So does that mean I don't have to go yokai when others do…now that I'm 'strong' and all?"
"You don't believe me, do you?"
"Not really." He reached down and began to pick up his cards, pulling them into a neat little stack. When he reached the nine of spades, he gave it a look that could kill before placing it back into the deck with the others. "Just everything we do is getting stranger and stranger… Demonic powers, vines that move by themselves, the living dead… When will it end?"
"When Ayin is killed."
Chikara looked up, Indie's calm statement jerking her out of her thoughts. As the day had progressed, she was beginning to realize how terrible of a father Ayin was. To have him killed… He would certainly get what he deserved…
Make him scream…make him suffer!
Chikara shook that thought away quickly. She didn't want to think of things like that. Until this day, she hadn't killed anything—not even the pestering mosquitoes that came during the summertime, or the spiders that lurked in the darkest corners of the rooms. Now she felt terrible for killing all of these people when Indie was not, in fact, dead. All of those innocent people…
"Let me do it," she said suddenly. "Please… I want to be the one—"
"No," Indie interrupted. "I think you've killed enough people for one day."
Baku began laughing. "This coming from a man," he said between giggles, "who would not hesitate to blow up the whole of New York if it meant getting your way!"
Indie scowled. "It's not something I'm proud of, you know."
"You're just saying that so you don't taint your sister's mind even more."
"I bet it's been about ten minutes so far, don't you think?" Xander asked, interrupting before Indie could retort.
The others nodded before slowly trudging up the stairs and knocking on the door. Dirke called for them to come in, and the sight that presented them would always remain etched into their minds.
Dirke, obviously having convinced Ayin that there was no way out of this situation, was sitting smugly in the hard-backed, wooden chair across from Ayin, who currently had his face buried in his hands. A few tears—at least what they assumed were tears—trickled out from between his interwoven fingers, but other than that, he made no movement that he had even heard them enter.
"Hey, dad," Indie snarled the moment he entered. "Guess what Chikara—you know, your daughter—just told us she wanted to do!"
Chikara shifted uncomfortably, but Ayin made no movement.
"She said she wants to be the one to kill you!"
A smile crept slowly over Dirke's face, almost secretive in nature. "I don't think there will be any need of that," he said, laughing slightly. He tossed a paperclip that had been unbent to Indie, who caught it. The paperclip had a sort of clear, sticky fluid on it as well as what looked like blood. "Do you remember when you had left the hospital, and your sight was almost gone?" he asked Chikara.
"Well…" The smile on Dirke's face turned into a smirk. "I decided that he should feel the same pain as you once did."
Ayin removed his hands from his face and opened his eyes. They each had one hole in the center where the paperclip had gone through and punctured the cornea. Blood and eye fluids were dripping out through the holes, running down his face, and finally splashing onto the desk. He gave a howl of pain, whipped around, and ran straight through the window, meeting his death seven stories below.
"I don't think he meant to do that…," said Dirke, laughter evident in his voice. "On a lighter note, Ayin has agreed most kindly to give me this building. Now we can finally go home." He pulled the binder towards him, shook off the fluids that were coating it, and put it back in his bag, which he zipped up and shouldered. Pretending as if nothing had happened, he walked toward the door, but turned around when he got there. "Baku? Could you do me a little favor?"
Baku, who had been staring out the window at where Ayin had fallen this whole time, turned around and said in a sort of squeaky voice, "Depends. What do you want me to do?"
Dirke's voice came out barely above a whisper when he made his request: "Could you burn it? The building, I mean."
Baku's eyes widened slightly before he shook his head, indicating that he would.
Dirke was halfway down the stairs before Chikara caught up to him.
"So that's it, then?" she practically snarled. "You dragged me all this way just to make me watch my father jump out a window?"
"It wasn't supposed to happen that way," said Dirke quietly.
But Chikara wasn't listening; she was so angry, she could hardly find words. "Why couldn't you have just let me go on with my daily life?" she asked rather loudly. "I didn't need to be here! None of us did! Why couldn't you have just left us alone, you sick freak?"
Dirke bowed his head in—was it shame? It didn't matter. Chikara's words had etched their way into his mind and struck a nerve. He felt like an idiot bringing her into this now…
"Why couldn't you have left me in peace to grieve my father? I already witnessed him die once! I didn't need to do it again!"
"But think of it this way," said Indie coming up behind her. "You would have never known the truth. You would have continued to be one of the naïve innocents of society that never pay attention to what's going around them."
"I liked it that way," she said, her voice suddenly cutting off to be almost as quiet as Dirke's had been. "I liked being oblivious… Why couldn't you have just left me alone?"
"You would have never met me…" He pulled Chikara into a one-armed hug as they reached the place where Chikara had destroyed Yokou not too long ago. The wind was blowing in from the broken window just enough to clear the room of the ashes of their bodies. "Look. What happened happened, and we can't go back in time to change that."
A tear slowly leaked from Chikara's eye, and she hastily wiped it away. "I know, but…it hurts."
Indie then wrapped both of his arms around her and tightened the hug. "I know it hurts, but you're just going to have to live with that, all right?"
They found some stairs leading downwards, and the rest of the journey outside was silent. Baku stayed on the ground floor and burst into flames as they left. The fire caught on a few of the dead bodies strewn about and was soon a roaring blaze. He walked out of the building and joined the others out front.
"Damn," he hissed. "That was my favorite shirt." He looked around him, and suddenly his face blanched. "Shit, how the hell are we getting back to the van? I don't want to walk anymore, much less find my way back through those woods!"
Noi grinned, pulled his keys out of his pocket, and jingled them in front of Baku's face. "Once again you poor souls underestimate the power of technology." He pushed a small, black button on the back and explained: "The van has a built in GPS-type system. By pushing that button, it uses a sort of tracking device to pull up to where you are—using the main roads, of course, and not going as the crow flies. That would be disastrous."
As they waited, the sun slowly began to creep up behind the trees and shine upon the body of Ayin, right below the shattered window. No one looked back at the building after they realized he was there.
The moment the sun's rays touched them, Dirke, Baku, Indie, Xander, and Chikara were suddenly filled with a brilliant light. After a few minutes, the light faded from their bodies, leaving them all dazed.
"What the hell just happened?" Chikara asked.
"Your soul just sort of fixed itself," Dirke explained simply. They then spent the next forty minutes that it took for the van to get there trying to explain to her all about the ways of the yokai…how to turn yokai without using up too much of your soul…how to keep your powers under control…and basically answering every question that she came up with.
Just as the flames reached the top of the building, the van pulled up. As everyone clambered into the back and Noi and Dirke walked around to the front, Chikara pulled Indie to the side.
"I-I want to ask you something," she said, stuttering slightly with nervousness.
Indie shifted his bag on his shoulder as an incentive for her to continue.
"I…well…er…since…you know…we're family and all…I was wondering if…you'd…you know…like to rent an apartment or something for us to live together…like a family." She ended with a dull mumble. It sounded right in her head, but when she said the words aloud, she sounded almost like a psychotic stalker.
Indie shook his head. "Sorry, luv, but I'm going to have to pass. As much as I would like to get to know you more, EKRID is my home. Tell you what, though, I'll come visit you whenever you want."
"I knew it!" Baku hissed from the back of the van, having been listening to their conversation the whole time.
"Knew what, baka?"
"That you're gay!"
"What the hell?" Indie yelled. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
Baku gave him a look that clearly said that it was the easiest explanation ever. "You just declined the invitation to live alone—with a girl!"
Indie gave Baku a disgusted look. "She's my sister!"
Baku shrugged. "Wouldn't stop me."
"You sick, sick bastard!" He jumped into the back of the van and tackled Baku.
Chikara stood there, not quite sure what to do. She looked up when Derek held out his hand for her.
"Are you just going to stand there all day or what?"
She gave him a small smile and allowed him to help her into the van.
* * *
Mystical Knight Dragon: Yes, Baku is a pervert… XD Anyways, if you had read fairiesrmean's rantings in her reviews, that last quote is what she was complaining about. Apparently it ruined the book for her. :P Anyways, I will be ever-grateful if you reviewed! This is the last chapter (obviously), but look for one more telling you when I get this thing published. It probably won't be out for another month (I still need to earn about $600… ), but you never know. Could be more, could be less. (Less! Less! Less! *knock on wood*)